Home » Basement Wall Cracks: When Does it Get Serious?

Basement Wall Cracks: When Does it Get Serious?

by Uneeb Khan

A crack in your basement wall can seem like the end of the world if you’ve never experienced one before – but it doesn’t have to be the end of your home. If you understand what causes these cracks and how to prevent them, you’ll be able to keep your property looking great despite their presence. Plus, some cracks can be signs of other problems with your basement, so knowing what they look like can help you protect your home from bigger issues down the line. To understand how to avoid basement wall cracks and when they can indicate deeper issues, continue reading below! 

Why do Cracks in Basement Walls Occur?

Foundation Problems can manifest in various ways, including visible cracks, uneven floors, or doors that no longer close properly. If left unattended, these issues may compromise the stability of your home. Taking early action and seeking professional guidance can help mitigate the impact of foundation problems and ensure the longevity of your property.

Basement wall cracks are rarely something to be concerned about, but if they appear in your basement walls or foundation, there’s no sense in ignoring them. Here are a few signs you should look out for in your basement!

Hydrostatic Pressure 

If you notice cracks forming in your basement walls, it’s essential to address them promptly to prevent further damage. One way to safeguard against moisture seepage and potential structural issues is by ensuring a Dry Basement environment through effective waterproofing solutions.

When water levels in the soil around your house rise to dangerous levels, a phenomenon known as hydrostatic pressure occurs. Once the earth becomes saturated with water, it will extend in all directions, potentially impacting your property. As a result, your basement walls will eventually crack under the added stress. The dirt around your home’s foundation may swell if it gets too wet. The increased weight of this saturated earth can cause the walls to push inward, even though most foundations are built to bear such strain. Angled fissures in the walls or windows of your basement will soon become immediately apparent.

Dry Weather Conditions

You might wonder how, precisely, dryness could lead to wall cracks. Sure, wet conditions promote their growth, but unexpectedly, dry soil can also be a factor. Droughts are the usual culprit in draining soil moisture, which leads to soil compaction. Plants located too close to a building’s foundation may cause a severe water shortage if they dig deeply for water and deplete the soil around the footings. Because of this, the footings sink, and the foundation walls slide outward.

Settling Foundation 

Your home’s basement was dug during construction. Depending on age and location, the builder may have reached soil that hasn’t been relocated in a long time. The builder started adding weight to your foundation after pouring the concrete footers. This increased as your home was built, furnished, and people moved in. All the added weight, pressure, construction, furnishings, and seasonal changes can cause the soil to move. These small shifts and movements cause settling. When your house starts to settle with time, then cracks are expected to appear on the basement walls because it’s the very foundation of your home. 

How to do Basement Wall Crack Repair?

Cracks in Wall Corners can also be a common issue in basements, and it’s essential to know how to do basement wall crack repair properly to maintain the structural integrity and prevent further damage. 

Because basement flooring is typically poured after the walls, the concrete at the junction between the two is often weak and prone to cracking when the house settles. This fracture type in a foundation should be fixed the same way as any other nonstructural crack: Using caulk explicitly made for concrete to fill it in. The gap can be as large as half an inch and still not cause any issues except allowing air, moisture, and odors to seep in. 

The good news is that modern developments in basement wall crack repair and skilled professionals able to manage this type of problem have made it feasible to properly seal your wall crack without invasive excavation of your home, reducing the complexity and cost of the repair process. Foundation contractors can inject expanding epoxy into cracks between the wall and floor wider than half an inch (some can be two inches wide or more). Kits that include everything you need to properly seal a fracture in concrete are also widely available in the market. 

Why is it essential to fix a basement wall crack?

  • Water Leakage— Water and moisture can easily enter through cracks in the basement wall that are visible to the naked eye. Water seepage is a common cause of cracking in basement walls. Any water leaking could ruin your belongings if the fractures in your basement’s walls are large enough.
  • Weak Foundation— The basement walls may be made of concrete, which is strong, but expanding fissures may eventually compromise its integrity. As an aside, this isn’t an issue only in the basement. Remember that your foundation supports your entire house, making basement wall cracks a severe threat.
  • Reduced Property Value— A cracked foundation will reduce the value of your property just as much as a flooded basement would. It will be much more challenging to sell your property if the foundation has cracks that have not been corrected and the inspector finds them during the inspection.

Is a DIY Approach possible for basement crack repair? 

Concrete tends to contract as it dries with time. When a building dries out and shrinks, it can leave tiny gaps in the foundation, often known as “hairline cracks,” that let water into the basement but don’t compromise the building’s structural integrity. However, when repairing cracks in a foundation, it is important to determine the severity of each fracture because it may indicate underlying soil issues. Soil settlement, for instance, can lead to cracks and subsidence in a foundation wall. Another factor that can lead to foundation wall cracking and bowing inward is soil pressure from outside the structure. 

Caulk or epoxy is typically most homeowners’ first line of defense for crack repairs. However, this quick repair does little to prevent water from seeping through the crack. If you have a hairline crack in your basement wall, consider it a DIY project and repair it using the right products. Still, if your basement walls show severe damage, it’s best to call the professionals! 

Conclusion 

It is best to have a trusted contractor or foundation specialist examine your home if you notice any cracks or suspicions about its stability. This can help you save time and money in the long run, and you will become aware of any underlying problems before it’s too late

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